Jessica Mauboy on the women behind HILDA, going deep and growing up

Gillian Wolski
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Jessica Mauboy dropped by Build Series Sydney. Photo: Build Series Sydney.

Aussie singer, songwriter and actress Jessica Mauboy, 30, has accomplished a lot in the last decade-and-a-half following her rise to fame as a fresh faced teen on the fourth season of Australian Idol.

The Darwin-born darling has gone on to release three albums, star in two films and collect an ARIA and an AACTA award. Before letting her latest - and most personal - album, HILDA, loose into the world, the homegrown star stopped by Build Series Sydney to chat with host Flex Mami.

Where her previous music was bright, “smiley” pop, with HILDA - which Jess told Flex is both her middle name and her late maternal grandmother’s name - the songstress “goes deeper than ever before.”

“It’s infused with my family and their pain and struggles,” she said of the stripped back and intimate album, adding that she has been “sitting with these feelings and stories for over three years.”

One story that inspired the second single from the album, “Little Things,” is about her mum, Therese, who was left with motherless at just 10 years old when “fiery and strong” Nanna Hilda passed away.

“That song is dedicated to my mum to lift her spirit,” Jess said, tearing up.

“I listened to it with her and my siblings and we bawled our eyes out.”

She told Flex how 11-year-old ‘Little Jess’ used to “drive my mum crazy” by practicing her favourite Mariah Carey tunes in the bathroom of their family home for hours on end.

Little Jess, she says, “wouldn’t care” about Big Jess one bit, and would be more interested in recording her voice on her granddad’s old tape recorder.

So, who is ‘Big’ Jess today? “She’s many things. She’s courageous. She loves to love, be kind, help others and be passionate about music.”

Watch Flex’s full chat with Jessica Mauboy above.

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